Tony Voters Speak: The Actor

Illustration by Everett Bogue

All week leading up to Sunday’s Tony awards, we’re polling anonymous Tony voters about whom they’ve cast their votes for and why. This morning we ask a Broadway actor and Tony voter: Who’s on your ballot?

Best Actress in a Play: Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed. I don’t think that the play was perfect. But she turns in a performance that I’ve never seen before. She could win — it’s a very saleable performance — but she took a risk to be unattractive. She played that role very unsympathetically, but we still loved her. She did that with aplomb.”

Best Play: Radio Golf. “I know all the sentiment is going to The Coast of Utopia because it was such a huge undertaking. But August Wilson’s undertaking was a milestone for the African-American community. I also think Radio Golf could benefit greatly from a Tony Award. It’s not a splashy play, and it is playing in a theater that is historically not an easy one to sell, because it’s east of Broadway. It’s a beautiful, worthy piece, and I hope my fellow voters see it as the culmination of a man’s entire lifetime.”

Best Director of a Play: Melly Still, Coram Boy. “One of the greatest plays of the season was Coram Boy, and it wasn’t nominated for Best Play at all. Melly Still’s vision for that entire piece was remarkable, so I voted for her for Best Director. She has made strides in nontraditional casting; she used women in a way that no other director has conceived of using women in a play like that – not in that sort of fast, grand, sweeping epic. It was an incredible decision. There aren’t really great plays being written for women; Deuce should’ve been a brilliant piece of art for women of a certain age, and it was a huge disappointment. That’s not to say that the direction of the other plays was bad, or even pedestrian, but Coram Boy was one of the most thrilling nights of theater I have ever seen.”

Tony Voters Speak: The Actor